12 Dessert Recipes That Start with Cake Mix

updated Aug 28, 2023
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apple dump cake on a blue speckled plate with ice cream on top
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Engineered for convenience, ease, speed, and fluffy results every time, boxed cake mix is an accessible way for anyone to get baking. Even as someone who loves to make baked goods from scratch, my pantry is never without at least one type of cake mix. The most amazing Funfetti cake and chocolate cake can come from a box, after all.

But the thing is, cake only scratches the surface of treats that can be made with cake mix. You don’t need to follow the directions on the back of the box — you can use cake mix as a starting point for surprising and fun bakery-level desserts. These shortcut recipes require little to no effort, demanding only the most basic equipment and calling for easy-to-find grocery store ingredients. 

In the mood for blueberry dump cake? Crinkle cookies? Waffles? Cake mix can help. Save this list of 12 recipes and never run out of ways to revamp baking mixes from good to did-that-really-come-from-a-box great.

1 / 12
Blueberry Dump Cake
You only need four ingredients for this summer dessert: blueberry pie filling, cake mix, butter, and fresh or frozen blueberries.
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2 / 12
Apple Dump Cake

And for the fall, just dump apple pie filling, cake mix, and butter into a dish and bake!

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3 / 12
Strawberry Cake Mix Brownies
Here's an easy way to turn a box of strawberry cake mix into dense, chewy brownies, topped with swirls of cream cheese frosting.
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Honey Bun Cake

A honey bun cake is a cinnamon-laced cake that is prepared using a yellow cake mix and topped with a thin layer of icing. If you're a fan of Little Debbie snacks, you'll love this take on the packaged sweet.

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5 / 12
Peach Dump Cake

Dump cakes of all different flavors are magical for a reason. Here, all you have to do is open up a box of yellow cake mix and sprinkle it all over the surface of canned peaches.

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Cake Mix Cookies

Here's one formula that makes four-ingredient cookies in different flavors — like gooey butter, chocolate crinkle, and red velvet — using a box of cake mix.

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Jell-O Poke Cake

Combining two beloved ingredients from the baking aisle, this crowd-friendly cake needs to be made ahead of time, which makes it perfect for your next potluck.

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Chocolate Trifle

This tiered dessert is equal parts elegant and easy, thanks to store-bought pudding, whipped cream, cake mix, and crushed cookies.

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Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Traditionally, coffee cake batter takes time and precision to whip up. But this recipe yields a simple yet elegant coffee cake with fresh rhubarb tucked in between two cake layers made from storebought vanilla or yellow mix.

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Cherry Dump Cake

This effortless stonefruit dump cake only requires 10 minutes of prep.

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Heart-Shaped Vanilla Cupcakes

Learn how to make cute heart-shaped cupcakes for Valentine's Day (or any day!) with minimal effort and no special equipment.

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Cake Batter Waffles

Whoever says cake for breakfast is unacceptable clearly hasn’t been introduced to cake batter waffles. They’re the happy collision of breakfast and dessert on one plate, and prove that cake mix has an occasional place in your morning meal. Ready the pat of butter and the maple syrup.

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